Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reader Question: Space at the bottom of bra cups

Fiona asked me a while ago in a comment:
My bras fit quite well, but I get a very small amount of bulging at the top of the cup and a very small amount of wrinkling at the bottom of the cup. It seems like there would be enough room in the cup, except the room is in the wrong place. I wear a 30G and have been suspecting a 28GG would be better anyway because my bands feel a bit loose. Any chance that would solve my problem? Or should I go up an additional cup size? It's most pronounced with my one full coverage bra but happens with some of my balconettes too. Any particular style or brand I should try? It's really not a huge problem but with the amount of money bras cost me I want them to be perfect!
Unfortunately, this is't a question where I can say, "Oh, I know exactly what the problem is and you just need to do this."  However, I can give you some suggestions to try. :-)

It's entirely possible that going to a 28GG or 28H would solve the problem. The rule of thumb for your best cup size is, it should be the biggest cup size you can fill out when putting it on correctly. Try putting one of your current bras on correctly, and see if you are spilling over anywhere. If so, you definitely need a bigger cup size. Regardless, if 30 is seeming loose to you I would recommend going down to a 28, since it's the band that gives you most of the support.

I also wonder if your current bras are simply the wrong style for you. Based on what you said about balconette styles, it sounds like bras with shorter (up and down) wires are better for you, so you probably want to stick to those styles. It may be that you need wider (side to side) underwires, which would make sense with what you said about the room being at the wrong place. Underwire width varies by brand and style, but you could start with the brand Panache, which generally has wider underwires as well as a good variety of bras down to a 28 band.

It is likely a combination of problems. Most people have specific styles and features that work better for them, as well as their right size. You have to keep experimenting to find what combination works for you, and then look for bras with those features. If it was possible for you to go somewhere to try on a variety of styles and sizes, that would of course make it easier to figure out what's right for you. But if that's not possible, you might just have to buy and return bras until you find the right one. It's not the most convenient solution in the world, but it should be worth it in the end!

Good luck and I hope you find your perfect bra! I would love to hear from you again once you figure out the solution. Does anybody else have suggestions for Fiona?


  1. I have the exact same problem. Going up a cup size probably won't help, as I have tried bras that are two sizes too big for me and still have too much room at the bottom while I bulge out on top. Molded bras seem to fit much better, but for seamed bras, I do a simple alteration that really transforms the fit. Basically I sew a dart in the center piece in between the cups--it turns the cups at a bit of a different angle, which brings the extra space at the bottom up to the top more.

    A few different blogs have posted about this alteration, there is a good description here, with pictures:

    In that article they show the dart folded on the outside--so you'd be able to see it--but I've always done it folded in, so it isn't visible. The extra folded fabric doesn't cut into my breastbone, even though I'm a bit bony there.

    I really hope this helps!

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  3. I get the exact same problem as Fiona. It's all about the depth of the cup at its base. Some (most, actually, as I've found) brands just have a much shallower base than others. Panache and Cleo by Panache are the worst--they're extremely shallow and their underwire is also very wide in diameter, which exacerbates the issue. I find that molded cups with narrower wire diameter are the best for this issue, and a couple brands that fit the bill are Figleaves and Freya.

  4. I see two reasons. Either a too small cup/too narrox wire or just the wrong model. The later on people already have talked about, and I agree about what they say, so I just go for the first.

    If the wire is too narrow, the breast can't reach down into the buttom, and there is the empty space. Try putting an orange in a glas...

    This has three way och fixing it. First, try a 28-band. If you think that you might should be wearing one, then you probably should anyway. A smaller band will stretch the wires just a bit and create a slighter wider wire, which could solve the problem. If that doesn't fix it, try go up another cupsize, which both gives a wider wire, and, a larger cup.

    I always have this problem when a bra starts to become to small in the cups. The empty space at the buttom usually emerges before any bulging.

  5. Wow, thank you for the post Brittany, and thanks to everyone who commented. Lots of information here!

    Just to complicate matters further: I was surprised when I went to one of the most respected bra fitters in New York and she told me I was wearing my bands too tight! She didn't like the lines it left on my ribs, which looked extra bad that day because I was wearing a bra with a lacy bottom edge. Personally I think some lines are unavoidable--I definitely had them back when I used to wear 34s in middle school.

    I'm quite sure I need narrower underwires, and will try going up a cup size so see if that solves the problem. I will definitely report back!

  6. "The bra shouldn't leave any marks.." Well, how is that possible? For that I cannot wear any clothes at all. My socks leavs marks, my jeans leaves marks, my knickes leaves marks, and yes, my bra does to. Should I be walking around naked?

    I believe that this is the same kind of people that says that if you get "back fat" from your bra you should go up in band size. Well, you could be in need to go up in band size in both these cases, but in most cases the person is more likely to need to go down one band size instead.

  7. To be fair, my fitter didn't say a bra shouldn't leave any marks. I think she just meant that they looked too deep and red on me. She didn't want me to go up a band size, just keep wearing my (old) 30s on the loosest hook instead of the tightest as I had been.

  8. I tried the alteration that Anne-Laure suggested on my panache tango II plunge bra, which has the problem of being wrinkled at the bottom of the cups while fitting on the top. It worked like a charm.

    So I tried it on my freya celia plunge bra and it made the bra fit so much better.

    I tried it on my freya summer balcony bra but it messed up the fit of the bra.

    My conclusion is that it only works well on plunge bras. It may also work well on other styles of bras that I haven't yet tried it on.

    I think the problem causing the poor fit is that most bras are designed to lift breasts that are being pulled down by gravity. My breasts are quite high up on my chest but they roll to the sides a lot. Sometimes I feel like I have a breast under each armpit. The solution is choosing bras with a narrower center gore that pulls the breasts more towards the front and center of the chest.

    Anything that is made by fantasie that has "side-support" in the name or description doesn't have the problem of being wrinkled at the bottom of the cup on me. Also the freya balcony bras tend to fit me well.

  9. I also vote for the style issue. The Solution is to try different brands or models, which may lead to a different size, but just saying to go up/down a size is not enough.

    Panache bras are particularly wide and not so deep (Zara and Inferno are particularly difficult), thus giving the illusion of some empty space on the sides or bottom of the cup and little bulging in top because it does not match the shape of the breast (more narrow and forward projected). Same happens with other brands in different degrees. Freya tends to be more narrow.

    Depending exactly on where the empty space is (side of the cup, tip of the cup), it could also be a phenomenon described as "orange in a glass" (http://goo.gl/OLiOz and http://goo.gl/NjbdE) which is a symptom of cups too small or narrow.

  10. I'm glad you had some luck with the alteration, Zoe, even if it didn't work for everything! It's worked for everything I've tried it on, but one of the things I really like about the alteration is that it's so easy to take it out if it doesn't work well.

  11. hi i read all reviews ,i have the same problem.my mesureis 28 back 39 bust can you help with size i buy twenty bras and i sent them back .i dont know what can i do ,i am waiting to ty curvy kate what do you think?

    1. Anonymous, I find you should be wearing a 28H or a 30GG :) x


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